Reduce Protein to Delay Need for Dialysis

healthy food

What’s for dinner? When you’re trying to maintain the kidney function you have left, the answer isn’t as simple as hitting the nearest drive-thru.

You have to be a little more selective about what you eat to prevent your kidneys from shutting down. For a lot of newly diagnosed patients, making dietary changes can seem like a tall order.

It’s important to limit the amount of sodium, potassium, phosphorus and protein you eat. How? One way you can do this is by paying more attention to food labels, and keeping track of everything you eat. Eating more whole foods, and fewer processed foods will help, too.

Is there anything specific you can do to delay the need for dialysis when kidney function is limited? That’s a question researchers at the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the National Kidney Foundation wanted to explore.

After looking at a large group of studies on dieting and kidney disease over a 33-year period, they found that renal patients who limit protein intake can protect kidney health and delay the need for dialysis treatment.

That’s a significant finding considering the financial cost and impact dialysis treatment can have on quality of life. That doesn’t mean you have to avoid foods higher in protein altogether. You just need to be smart about your food choices.

If you’re living with renal disease, you'll want to stick to high-quality proteins. This includes foods like chicken, egg whites, beef and lean cuts of meat. Your doctor or dietitian can advise you on how much protein is safe to eat.

So what kind of foods are compatible with a Renal-Friendly diet? Some popular favorites include Eggplant Parmigiana with Whole Wheat Rigatoni, Spinach Mushroom Lasagna with Garlic Green Beans, and Breakfast Scramble with Asparagus & Hash Browns made with egg whites.

Hungry? Check out the complete list of Renal-Friendly meals, all made from fresh ingredients, and low in sodium, potassium, phosphorus and protein.